Cliff, my partner in crime at The Metal Asylum, has been friends with David Pankhurst on Facebook for a while and it was through their friendship that I approached David to do a review of their new EP “Hidden In The Open.”
Counting The Killers started as a conversation between Ben Robbins (vocals) and David Pankhurst (guitars and vocals) in August 2019 and very soon the project became something very special, with the band wanting to produce rock songs that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
The two were joined by AD Walshingham (guitar), Steve Card (bass) and Luke Smith (drums) with previous bands of the five of them including Micrafish, Scarred By Name, Gravil, Minerva Falls and High/Low.
Based in and around the Southend-On-Sea area of Essex, the EP was recorded during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and, as yet, they have still to perform a single gig as a band. But that by no means takes away from the professionalism and musicianship of this band.
The first track from the EP, ‘Winter’ was originally released on 18th April 2020 but, being unable to get to the studio due to Covid restrictions, the track was not mixed. The final version was eventually released in August 2020.
September brought the release of the self-titled track ‘Counting The Killers’, a rocky little number with killer riffs and pounding drums but it was the October release that really brought them to my attention.
‘Head Above Water’ was released on 25th October and it is a haunting, emotional track that I think a lot of people can relate to. You see, ‘Head Above Water’ was written from a first hand experience of dealing with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings, and mental health issues, especially in men, is a topic that is very prevalent and important in today’s society. To be able to say “I am not ok” should, I think, be normalised and the band are using this track to help raise money for mental health charities in the UK.
Says writer of the track David, “This song is something that I am really proud of. It’s a bit of a departure from what people expect me to write but I felt that I needed to put this down and share it. It deals with all aspects of depression from the thoughts to the situations and ways out. Ways to end it all but knowing it’s not the right thing to do. Asking for help is hard but at the end of the day it is always the right road to recovery. I brought it to the band and they instantly knew it had to be a very simplistic track and it hasn’t really changed that much from the initial idea I had.”
To help the guys raise money for mental health, all they ask you to do is visit their website, http://www.countingthekillers.com and download the track ‘Head Above Water.’ The band will then automatically donate the proceeds.
For the video to the track, the band also invited friends and family who have suffered in the past or still suffering from depression, anxiety and suicide thoughts to take part, resulting in an emotional video that shows that the “black dog” really can affect anyone in any walk of life.
The rest of the EP has a hard rock / alternative / metal feel, mixing riffs and drums with some more chilled out tracks and the band hopes there is something in their songs that will appeal to everyone.
Please check these guys out. Recording a debut EP during a worldwide lockdown couldn’t have been easy and I think they deserve all the credit, support, and encouragement that they get. Let’s hope that when this god-awful year is eventually over and gigs are allowed to take place again, these guys get the opportunity to finally perform together. I will certainly be there when they do!
EP TRACK LISTING
Head Above Water
Counting The Killers